The idea for organizing the Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival was first conceived in 2002 among film enthusiasts from the Bosnian-Herzegovinian diaspora in San Francisco and New York City. The late Benjamin Filipović, an awardwinning film director, professor at the Academy of Performing Arts in Sarajevo, and president of the Association of Filmmakers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, provided the inspiration for the first film festival.
In 2003, Dr. Džemaludin Harba invited representatives of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian community in New York to a brainstorming meeting regarding a potential festival of Bosnian and Herzegovinian film. This group of volunteers and the Radio Voice of Bosnia and Herzegovina together produced the first annual Bosnian-Herzegovinian Film Festival (BHFF) that same year. Following its debut, in 2005 the BHFF became a co-production between Radio Voice of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Academy of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
In 2003, BHFF was held at the Two Boots Pioneer Theatre. The following year, BHFF moved to larger premises at the Anthology Film Archives, known as an international center for the preservation, study, and exhibition of film and video. In 2007, BHFF relocated to Tribeca Cinemas, one of New York City's highly regarded film institutions. In 2018, it will take place at the SVA Theatre.